Bogdan Boev

Wildlife photography is much more than photos

Bogdan Boev

 

I have been passionately photographing wildlife since 2007. It started as a hobby for me, now it's become my new profession, after retiring from 17 years of professional basketball career. I now work as a tour leader for wildlife photography tours and workshops.

 

My name is Bogdan Boev. I was born in 1982 in the town of Dimitrovgrad, in Southeastern Bulgaria. As a young kid I fell under the spell of observing nature and becoming one with it. The biggest river in Bulgaria after the Danube, Maritsa, flows through the landscapes where I grew up and as a kid I would often go to its banks to fish with my Dad and my friends. I’d spend days there, mesmerized by the beauty of the river and the secrets it kept. It was during these blissful times that I discovered my passion for observing wildlife in its natural environment.

 

Another hobby of mine, however, turned out to be quite demanding. In my teenage years I dedicated a lot of time to basketball and my passion for it soon overwhelmed my life. Aged fifteen, I made my debut as a professional player in the men’s championship; a contract soon followed, and then 17 seasons in the professional basketball league in Bulgaria.

Sport camps took up most of my summers, and then I had to prepare for the regular season. I didn't have much chance to enjoy nature – I’d get a free month at the most, and it was hardly enough to satisfy my need for communication with nature and wildlife.

 

In 2007 I realized I desperately needed to spend more time in nature, as I used to do as a kid. Photography followed naturally and it became the perfect addition to my desire to simply sit calmly somewhere in the wild, observing the animals around me.

My camera allowed me to capture the invaluable moments that I witnessed. The feeling was overwhelming, and I didn’t fight it – I yielded to it completely.

By the end of my sporting career I had already gained substantial experience in wildlife photography. When I got a job proposal by Wild Echo, a birdwatching and wildlife photography touring company, I gladly accepted.

Few years later I met my future wife and we settled in Great Britain where we live presently. My cooperation with Wild Echo had to come to an end but my passion for nature and photography remained unaltered; for two wondrous seasons I worked in Poland, where I helped my good friend and fellow photographer Marcin Nawrocki in his tours for white-tailed eagle photography.

But I didn’t abandon my wildlife photography adventures in Bulgaria either. I focused on creating a base in the vicinity of my hometown, Dimitrovgrad, where there are plenty of beautiful locations for wildlife photography and observation. I broaden my horizons every day: I try to find new good spots, I build hides, I put to use my knowledge and the experience that I’ve gained through the years. My goal has always been to create a product aimed at true fans and connoisseurs of the genre. Years of experience have taught me that each of us can play an important role in nature conservation, so I was determined to create the best conditions for great wildlife shots, providing comfort for the photographer and taking care to minimize the disturbance for wildlife at the same time.

With time I realized that through my photographs I can contribute personally to nature conservation. What a great news! I made the decision to donate some of my shots to a variety of nature conservation causes; I also publish wildlife photographs in the social media in an attempt to show its beauty, to share my experience and make people feel the magic that I’ve witnessed. I organize exhibits with friends, I participate in wildlife photography events, I do my best to win people over for the cause of nature conservation.

I have the great chance to turn what I love into my livelihood. Starting a nature friendly business that provides a stable income is one of the ways to guarantee nature conservation. We mustn’t view nature as a mere set of resources; it is much more and offers many more alternatives for a livelihood; wildlife photography is among the best examples of a sustainable practice that ensures the long-term preservation of natural resources. Thriving habitats mean rich biodiversity; in a world where this is a luxury in many places people are ready to pay to visit such spots and contribute to their sustainable use.